It’s crazy to think that the start of summer is less than two months away. Am I the only one freaking out about planning a getaway that keeps the kids entertained, but also maybe allows us (the parents) to have some down-time? Don’t get me wrong, we love holidaying as a family but with three very excitable boys, it’s a hard task and we often find ourselves worrying more than enjoying!
We’re not huge fans of “organised fun”, but when it comes to family holiday planning, we think it’s essential. School’s out for summer, but for us that doesn’t mean that the learning also has to be put on pause; we spend weeks and even months of planning ahead doing our research to find family-friendly activities that will keep their brains ticking over and peak their interests.
A few years back, we started a bucket-list of holiday destinations that we wanted to explore as a family and we’ve ticked quite a few off the list already. So far, here’s our top three places to visit in Europe. Comments and tips on where else to go and how to keep the little ones entertained welcome!
As well as having the best pizza and gelato we have ever tasted in our lives, we loved Rome for its bountiful supply of culture and historical buildings. The monumental Colosseum really is quite impressive and got a big thumbs up from all of us for taking us back in time and giving us an exciting day filled with gladiators, dungeons and emperors. You can choose from standard entry to half-day guided tours as well as a behind-the-scenes experience.
Our favourite city to explore...although it’s most popular attractions can very quickly empty your pockets. The good news is that it can also be done on a budget. Most of the major museums are free entry and are all worth a visit, but the clear winner for us was The Science Museum for its activities, galleries and interactive exhibits. Another fun way to explore the city and learn about its history is through the guided bus tours - there’s a ‘hop on and off' option’ in case your kids get cranky or bored.
Other free-entry museums include:
- British Museum
- National Gallery
- National History Museum
- National Portrait Gallery
- Tate Modern
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- Imperial War Museum
- National Maritime Museum
- Museum of London
We love the Spanish culture and have been to mainland Spain plenty of times, but with one of my boys’ growing fascination for volcanoes and us wanting some winter sun, this time we were directed to the Canary Islands. As far as tours in Tenerife go, the excursion to Mount Teide was one of the best we have enjoyed as a family. The National Park is also home to the world’s largest solar observatory.
Tenerife is a great place for the whole family as there’s lots of day trips and excursions. If like us, you also choose the north of the island, we also recommend an all-day trip to the south for dolphin and whale-watching in Los Gigantes.
So, as you can see, we always try to squeeze in some sort of activity that will feed their brains and teach them something new! What are your opinions on learning whilst on holiday as a family?
Next on our list we have Iceland, Poland and Austria and the boys are really excited for glaciers and geysers, alpine scenery, medieval towns and castles!